The Data Act is an effort to unlock the untapped potential of 'business to business' (B2B) and 'business to government' (B2G) data sharing and aims to bring numerous benefits for citizens. These benefits include improved personalised medicine, new mobility solutions, and contributions to the European Green Deal.
The draft legislation proposed by the Commission would also require private companies to make data they hold available to public sector bodies on request, in situations where there is an exceptional need for such data (e.g. public health emergencies, natural disasters, major cybersecurity incidents). Furthermore, the draft text introduces a set of minimum regulatory requirements to make it easier to switch between cloud service providers and puts in place safeguards to address unlawful third-party access to non-personal data held in the EU.
The report approved by the ITRE committee clarifies types of data falling within the scope of the regulation, how the new rules would apply to different players, and strengthens trade secret protection for data-holders. Additionally, the report clarifies the scenario of 'public emergency' allowing public bodies to request access to privately held data and specifying that data-holders should be entitled to fair remuneration for granting that access.
The European Data Innovation Board, established by the Data Governance Act, would be granted a role in coordinating enforcement of the regulation. MEPs are expected to vote on their first-reading position during the March I plenary session. In the Council, Member States have yet to agree on a general approach.
The proposed Data Act has the potential to bring numerous benefits to European citizens, and the European Parliament is set to vote on its position on the matter. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the vote will be and how it will shape the future of data sharing in the EU.